Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The symptoms of menopause, caused by hormone imbalance, can be debilitating for many women. When you can’t find relief through herbs and supplements alone, doctors often turn to hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, to bring hormones back into balance.

But HRT is most effective when doses are customized to the needs of each patient, using hormones that are bioidentical—and therefore more bioavailable—to the hormones our own bodies make.

Bioidentical vs. synthetic hormones

Synthetic hormones, such as Premarin and Provera, have traditionally been used for hormone replacement therapy. But recently, bioidentical hormones have become more popular, as they match the molecular structure of hormones made by the human body in ways that synthetic hormones cannot. Experts believe this makes them more reliable and more predictable in the way they work.

To make bioidentical hormones, scientists start with a plant source that’s naturally rich in hormones that are already very similar to human hormones—like soybeans and yams—and adjust them to exactly match our own. Bioidentical hormones are simply called by their hormone names (e.g. estradiol, a type of estrogen, and testosterone). Only a few types of bioidentical hormones are available by commercial prescription; the rest are only delivered via compounded prescriptions.

Are they safe?

Bioidentical hormones are thought by many to be a safer option than synthetic versions, and some medical literature even shows that they carry a reduced risk for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Ultimately, the most important safety issue is finding a solution that is customized for you. Too much or too little of any hormone can lead to imbalance and fluctuation, the biggest factor in increased health risks. And because they cannot be delivered in customized dosages, synthetic hormones can often give the body more hormones than it needs.

Compounded solutions

The majority of bioidentical hormones are available only through a prescription compounding pharmacy like Pharmaca. Compounding offers patients the chance to get customized dosages of these hormones. If one patient needs a little less estrogen, and another needs a little more testosterone, we help prescribers write the perfect compounded prescription that offers just the right amount to keep hormones in balance.

In addition, compounded hormones can be given in a variety of dosage forms, from capsules to creams to sublingual drops. That means you can choose the delivery method you’re most comfortable with, at a level that’s just what you need.

Working with your prescriber

We are happy to offer consultations with your prescriber to help them identify the appropriate therapeutic dosage based on your individual needs.

And of course, our other certified practitioners—including naturopathic doctors, herbalist and other specialists—are always on hand to offer suggestions for non-prescription ways to treat your symptoms, be it herbal remedies or daily vitamins.